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The Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster sucks

Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster

There are several reasons why this guitar sucks...

...but before we get into that, here's a question that's probably has crossed your mind:

This is a new model. Why hasn't Fender released a Hendrix-named Stratocaster before?

Well, technically, they did. There was something like a 2 or 3-year agreement with the Hendrix family back in the late 1990s, and Fender did release what was known as the Voodoo Stratocaster. If there was a Hendrix Strat before that made by Fender, I'm not aware of one.

The key term there is agreement with the Hendrix family. There has been nothing short of a tumultuous history with Fender trying to get a solid agreement for licensed use of the Hendrix name to build a Hendrix-named guitar, and I guess they finally got one again. As a result, another Hendrix Strat now exists...

...and it's just as awful as the last one.


It's ugly. Really, really ugly.

While I'm certain the guitar is built well (it's Mexico-made, by the way) and sounds good with its American Vintage '65 pickup set, everything about this Strat is just plain wrong.

Let's cover the obvious first.

First, there's a truss rod adjustment at the pegboard. If you look at any photo of Hendrix playing a Strat, you don't see that. Why? Because at the time, that adjustment was at the heel of the neck.

Second, the fingerboard radius is 9.5-inch. I'm pretty sure that at the time Hendrix was playing Strats, they were all 7.25-inch. I could be wrong there, but I'm pretty sure I'm not.

Third is this whole "right-handed guitar made to sorta/kinda look left-handed" crapola, which is where all the ugly happens.

The reverse-angle large headstock just looks bad. There are certain ways to make Strat pegboards look good reversed. This isn't one of them.

But what really turns the ugly up to 11 is that damned reverse-angle rear pickup. That takes the classic Strat design and makes it look like a joke, almost like a kid's guitar. Everything about that is wrong. Why? Because on seriously cheap-ass Strat copies over the years, some reverse the angle just like the Hendrix Strat, making the guitar look like a bargain-bin toy.

I seriously doubt a lefty version will be released

I've read on some forums that certain Strat players are ticked off because only the right-handed version of this guitar exists and that there should be a lefty, given that Hendrix was a lefty player.

To that I say it would make no sense for a lefty Hendrix Strat to exist, given that all the guy did was flip over a regular right-handed Strat.

A right-handed player could just buy a lefty Stratocaster, flip the nut, drill a new hole for a strap button on the bottom horn instead of the top, flip the guitar over and play it right-handed. Done deal.

Seriously, how difficult is it to do this:

Fender Stratocaster Left Handed Flipped

That's nothing more than a standard lefty Strat flipped over...

...just like Hendrix did when he flipped a right-handed Strat and played it lefty.

Priced too high?

After seeing the price of the Hendrix Strat guitar, you might get mad. Possibly really mad. Don't.

I actually think the guitar is priced correctly for what it is. It's priced exactly the same as the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster and the Robert Cray Stratocaster. Both of those are Mexico-made, just like the Hendrix Strat is.

If the Hendrix Strat was priced higher than that, then yes, that would be a reason to get ticked off at the price. But at least Fender had enough sense to keep the price the same as other Mexico-made signature models.

Is the fugly Hendrix Strat right for you?

I'd say the only type of person who could truly enjoy the Hendrix Strat is someone who knows the guitar is ugly and wants it for that reason.

There are some players who like genuinely ugly-design guitars because they get a kick out of playing them. If that sounds like you, buy a Hendrix Strat. You can expect other musicians you know to make fun of you for playing one, but if that's your thing, hey, go right ahead.

I wouldn't be caught dead with one.

Published 2015 Oct 30

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